Manganese is an essential mineral for health. We should be able to get an adequate supply of manganese from our natural diet, yet many people are deficient in this critical mineral.
Deficiencies in manganese can cause the following health problems:
• Glucose intolerance
• Blood clotting
• Skin problems
• Lowered cholesterol levels
• Skeletal disorders
• Birth defects
• Change in hair color
• Neurological symptoms
Most of us get close to an adequate manganese intake through the foods we eat. Some of the best sources of dietary manganese include grains, rice, soy beans, eggs, nuts, olive oil, green beans, oysters and tea.
Ensuring that these foods and beverages are part of your daily life will help ensure that you are healthy. Manganese is used by the kidneys, liver, pancreas and endocrine systems. Doctors recommend that we get 5-11 milligrams of manganese in our diets each day.
But, manganese can also be dangerous. In extremely high levels, manganese can be toxic to the body, causing poisoning. Manganese poisoning causes hallucinations, nerve damage, lung embolism and bronchitis. It can cause impotence in men and can cause a Parkinson’s like condition that produces tremors and loss of muscle control.
The central nervous system is most critically affected by toxic levels of manganese, and it can cause permanent and unrecoverable disabilities. Early warning symptoms of manganese toxicity include headaches, weak muscles and insomnia.
We know that exposure to manganese through the lungs and skin can cause toxicity. In particular, welders are at high risk for manganese toxicity. In short, anyone who regularly inhales dust and fumes from metals that contain manganese is at risk. This includes many occupations, since manganese is routinely added to other metals to inhibit rusting.
However, there has been question about whether manganese in our diet can produce toxic effects. While there are no known reports of manganese poisoning strictly from ingesting too much dietary manganese, researchers wondered if it was possible.
One study reported by the UK Tea Council explored the possibility of manganese poisoning simply through dietary exposure. The researchers considered the levels of manganese that are sometimes ingested by avid tea drinkers, since tea is a significant source of dietary manganese.
Could, they wondered, someone get manganese poisoning simply from drinking too much tea?
The study looked at 24 tea drinkers, each of whom drank at least one cup of black tea each day and compared them with non tea drinkers. The amount of dietary manganese consumed in a day was determined by interviewing the participants regarding their diets. In addition, their blood was collected and evaluated for the level of manganese in the bloodstream.
The study concluded that even when dietary levels of manganese were significantly above the recommended 11 mg per day, the high manganese level did not show up in the bloodstream. Those who drank significant amounts of tea each day were at no greater risk for manganese poisoning than those who drank no tea at all.
The body is able to process dietary manganese differently than manganese that we are exposed to through the respiratory system. In addition, excess dietary manganese is processed and excreted from the body as part of the digestive process. Therefore, we cannot get manganese poison from our diet, even when it includes a lot of tea or other significant manganese sources.
This is great news for tea drinkers. We now know that we can consume our favorite beverage without risk to our health. And, this is good news, since tea has begun to take the forefront as a way to protect health and reduce aging.
In recent years, scientists have begun to uncover the many healthy properties of tea. Tea is a powerful anti-oxidant, helping to reduce premature aging and lower our risk for certain serious diseases.
In many studies, tea, particularly green tea, has been shown to prevent cancer. Tea seems to act as a scavenger on abnormal cells, eradicating them before they can turn cancerous. In some studies, green tea has even been shown to be an effective adjunct treatment for cancer. Some research has indicated that traditional cancer treatments are more effective when administered along with green tea.
Tea has also been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease. One of the major causes of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs when there is too much bad cholesterol in the blood. Through a process known as oxidation, this LDL cholesterol hardens and sticks to arterial walls, restricting blood flow.
When blood flow to the heart or brain becomes too restricted, it can lead to heart attack or stroke. Green tea prevents the oxidation of the LDL cholesterol, preventing it from turning into arterial plaque.
Green tea has also been shown to help regulate blood glucose, keeping it at a steady level. This finding may show significant potential against the fight against diabetes. If consuming green tea can help regulate blood glucose naturally, it may help prevent Type II diabetes. As time goes on, we may even find ways to use green tea to help treat those who already have diabetes.
Green tea also seems to have potential in the fight against Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is caused by a deficiency in dopamine. This deficiency is caused by both the body’s inability to make dopamine because the cells that produce it begin to die off, and by the body’s inability to properly transport dopamine from the area of the brain where it is created to the area of the brain where it is used.
Green tea has been shown to help dopamine travel properly from one area of the brain to the other, helping to ensure that all the dopamine made by the body reaches the destination where it is used. This may help eliminate one problem faced by those with Parkinson’s.
Green tea also shows promise in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s occurs when certain chemicals in the brain begin to affect brain cells, causing them to deteriorate and die off.
We don’t really know why the brain begins to do this, but research has shown that green tea’s anti-oxidants may protect brain cells from these chemicals when they try to attack. Far more research is needed, but it appears that green tea may help us uncover the mystery of this disease of the aging.
So, as you can see, tea offers many important health benefits, and it’s wise to include it as part of our regular diet. Studies have concluded that there’s no potential health risk to consuming tea, even in large quantities.